Advent Devotion Series: Prepare Him Room - Joy
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But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:10 - 12
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
We are in the midst of a joyful and wonderful Christmas Season! But wait, you think, what if I am not feeling joyful. Is that bad? Am I a bad Christian? Am I supposed to fake it? As Christians, aren’t we supposed to be joyful at all times, especially at Christmas and Easter? We know we are supposed to be joyful during this time and maybe you are, but maybe you had negative experiences as a child at Christmas, maybe you are too busy and stressed with the demands of life. Or maybe, you are in a season where you are struggling with something in your life, like your health, a relationship, or just that thing nagging at you. So you ask, how in the world am I supposed to feel joy at this time? Or, maybe none of this pertains to you and you are feeling the joy as the shepherds.
No matter where you are on the spectrum of joy during this Christmas Season, I pray that our Almighty God helps you to deeply and intimately feel the promises laid out in Scripture of experiencing pure joy and comfort during the Christmas Season, celebrating the birth of Jesus and the hope and joy of his anticipated return, and every single day of your life, no matter what is going on in or around you.
Please join me to feel and maintain the complete and lasting joy that God promises. “The hope in Christ is the first reason to be joyful, even in difficult situations.” Rick Warren shares in his book, ‘The Power to Change.’
Let’s talk about joy and happiness. Joy and happiness are two different things. Happiness is defined as depending on the happenings in your life; the circumstances. Whereas joy goes much deeper than happiness. It is an attitude, a choice that we make. Joy does not depend on circumstances, it is within us, it comes from God alone. Wow! That sounds wonderful, right? But how do we get and sustain joy during this busy and sometimes stressful Christmas Season, and within us all the days of our lives? It might sound impossible, but it can’t be! Why you may ask. Well, the Bible mentions joy over 100 times in some translations. So it must be a priority to our Heavenly Father that we have joy. Complete sustainable life long joy! He shares this with us in the following passages:
John 16:22-24: and no one will take away your joy……..ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Nehemiah 8:10: the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Romans 12:12: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Ok, so you may be thinking, “how do I get this type of joy?”
Let’s go back to one of the definitions of joy, it is a choice that we make. Hmmm…. well, the Bible does tell us that we are to renew our minds daily as in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In other words, let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. We have the power and the ability to choose what we think every single day when we wake up and throughout each day. Sounds simple, right? Well, it can be, but we do have this enemy that tries to wreak havoc on our joy, on the daily. So how do we feel or keep the joy that we feel during this Christmas Season for the birth of Christ and the joy of the anticipation of His return, and sustain it throughout our daily lives?
The good news is, YOU CAN!! According to Dr. Carolyn Leaf, Christian researcher and psychologist, has proven how our thoughts impact our spirit, soul, and body which directly impact how we feel in our innermost being.
Through my own spiritual and health journey, I have learned a great deal about joy and that it is not situational or circumstantial. It is completely and solely through the power of our Heavenly Father using the power of our mind. During the advent week of joy, I invite you to make some intentional choices to set a foundation and form new habits for this Christmas Season and beyond! Let the Lord use these new daily habits to enhance the joy you feel in your mind, body, and soul! He can and desires to do this for you, but you must allow yourself to be that open vessel for Him. His priority is a love relationship with you. He wants you to know Him intimately and focus on His promises, as this brings inner, sustainable joy to you no matter what is going on in your life or the world around you!
In order to do this, we must intentionally spend time learning about Him, thinking, meditating on, and believing all the promises He has made to us in Scripture, and sitting quietly while he speaks to us. Promises such as:
Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:12-13: Then you will call upon me, and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord
Believing is the key word. In order to truly believe, we must tell/train our mind so it will transform our brain/our thinking, which transforms how we feel and our overall well being.
During this advent week of joy, let’s Prepare Him Room to give us the inner joy he so desires to give us. No matter if you have 5 or 50 minutes, do the following every morning:
1) Write down three things you are grateful for, read them out loud and thank our Heavenly Father for them.
2) Pick a verse in this blog, write it on a notecard, ask the Lord to reveal what it means in your life. Take the card with you and revisit throughout the day. Thank Him in advance for revealing His truth to you.
3) When you feel your joy being zapped, read aloud God’s promise to prosper you and not harm you, Jeremiah 29:11.
As you venture into this week of Joy, I pray God guides you in seeking Him for eternal Joy every day this Christmas Season and beyond!
Watch the corresponding video devotion on here.